By Neals J. Chitan
If you are knowledgeable of the great national anthems of the Caribbean, you will realize that the caption to this article “Hail Carriacou - land we love” was coined to salute the people and leaders of two islands, which I have over the past eight weeks come to love greatly.
Neals J. Chitan is the Grenadian-born president of Motiv-8 For Change International -- a Toronto based High Impact Social Skill Agency that is specially dedicated to the social empowerment of individuals, families and communities
Of course, the anthem of the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique begins with “Hail Grenada”, so why “Hail Carriacou” when this line does not appear in the anthem? And furthermore, why “land we love” when this is the final phrase in the anthem of Jamaica?
First of all, let me say unequivocally that the tenacity and vision for social empowerment I have seen in this little 13 square mile island of Carriacou and its 586 acres neighbour Petite Martinique stand unparalleled and unchallenged.
When thinking of an island that stands at the top of the charts when it comes to systematic social skills empowerment for every segment of its people, the name Carriacou jumps out at me. This little island leads internationally as the first island outside of our Canadian home-base to engage our full line sustainable program, the international acclaimed crime reduction/prevention strategy “Project Stop ‘n’ Think”, covering all aspects of community, public and government life.
During “Project Stop ‘n’ Think” -- Carriacou 2014, leaders and administrators decided to engage these powerful life changing sessions at every level of life in the sister isles. Not only did we engage a series of 27 high impact crime reduction sessions at four community venues in Carriacou and Petite Martinique, but we were also called to deliver social rehabilitation high impact sessions to two young offenders who are awaiting their day in court. We were also invited to engage professional development sessions for the public servants of the ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique affairs, the officers of the Hillsborough Police Station and the principal and staff of Dover Government school on the island’s northeastern coast, which by the way, received the honour of being the first non-North American school to be endorsed as a “Project Stop ‘n’ Think” school. Way to go, principal Corine McDonald!
Continuous highlights of the month were our frequent radio program appearances dealing with the roots of crime and violence with direct emphasis on domestic violence, which matured into an invitation by the Department of Gender and Family Affairs to be the speaker/facilitator of a “Domestic Violence and Men” session.
“Project Stop ‘n’ Think” -- Carriacou 2014 came to its grand finale on July 19, 2014, at the Hillsborough Government School where 140 “Stop ‘n’ Think” graduates stood and took the six-point graduates’ pledge to refrain from crime and violence, topping off the month in an anti-drug and violence march around the capital city of Hillsborough.
Let me compliment the ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique affairs and three of its leaders I was fortunate to team up with. First, the Honourable Elvin Nimrod, minister of legal affairs, labour, Carriacou and Petite Martinique affairs and deputy prime minister, who in my estimation has demonstrated a deep commitment, especially to the young people of his constituency, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Then the young vivacious parliamentary secretary, the Honourable Senator Jester Emmons, a gentlemen who has shown vision, great leadership, exceptional co-ordination skills, which lent to the success of this program, and permanent secretary Bernadette Lendore-Sylvester, who not only helped in facilitating the success of this project but who was present to congratulate all 140 graduates and hand them their certificate of completion on graduation day.
But the question remains, why does large northern Jamaica and “land we love” get mentioned in the same article with small southern Carriacou?
It’s because of the same unbelievable quest for social empowerment and a crime free country I saw in the Hon. Peter Bunting, the Jamaican minister of national security, when I met with him in Mandeville on Friday, May 30, 2014, to discuss “Motiv-8 For Change International” augmenting his “United For Change” approach. I was blessed to have met these two great parliamentarians in the persons of Hon. Peter Bunting of Jamaica and parliamentary secretary Senator Jester Emmons of Carriacou both within eight weeks.
However, why Jamaica again? Because of three young Jamaican men, Javaugh, Germaine and Ricky from St Elizabeth, who heard and experienced the power of the “Stop ‘n’ Think” concept, followed me around to every village and decided to be the catalyst of change as they promote and live out the concept in their lives.
What else can I say, but “Hail Carriacou - land we love”?